Read advance reader review of The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta, page 3 of 4

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The Leftovers

A Novel

by Tom Perrotta

The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta X
The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Aug 2011, 368 pages

    May 2012, 384 pages


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There are currently 25 member reviews
for The Leftovers
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  • Cheryl W. (Cassville, MO)
    The Leftovers
    This was a different take on the much written about topic of a rapture-like event. Unlike most books with this theme, the characters continued to live their lives. Each struggled with accepting what had happened and dealt with their losses in their own fashion. There wasn't the usual conflict between good and evil. It was a story of loss and acceptance.
  • Celia A. (Takoma Park, MD)
    An apocalypse for the rest of us
    The landscape in Tom Perrotta's book is very different from anything I would describe as "post-apocalyptic". In fact, he could be describing suburban America today. I actually found that to be the strength of the book. He didn't try to deal (at least not much) with the theology of the rapture (or Sudden Departure, as he called it). There is a little bit of folks dismissing what happened as not being the "actual" rapture, because they're convinced that when the time comes, of course they'll be one of the ones to disappear and not be a leftover. But, for the most part, Perrotta just takes that event--whatever it really was--as a given. He doesn't really try to explain it. And that's good, because any explanation would fall flat. It's already in the past, and his characters are grappling with the question of how do you go on when so many loved ones have just vanished but everything else is the same as it ever was.
  • Katherine T. (Atlanta, Georgia)
    The Leftovers
    I found this novel a compelling exploration of how we go on coping (or not) in the face of unfathomable loss. Although the novel is set after millions of people disappear from Earth in the "Sudden Departure," -- a Rapture-like event that is never fully explained -- what Perotta is really writing about is how ordinary people come to terms with loss, loneliness and a world that seems meaningless. He explores many of the same themes as Jonathan Franzen in "Freedom," but with a gentler tone and (I believe) more empathy for his characters. Despite the dramatic event that sets the novel off, this is really a novel of the domestic sphere, where men, women and teens struggle to find meaning and connection in their lives.

    Although I enjoyed this novel, I was not fully satisfied with a couple of the storylines where I felt the characters' motivations and actions (Laurie's, in particular) were not fully plausible. But all in all, The Leftovers is a strongly-written portrayal of highly relatable characters finding their way back to connection.
  • Glenn H. (Las Vegas, NV)
    Not your ordinary post apocolyptic story!
    I have read many post apocalyptic stories laced with barren landscapes, political decay and human crisis and happily, although unexpectedly, I can note that this is not one of those stories. In fact there is very little reference to these items at all - but enough to frame the story and set an intriguing backdrop. This is a character driven story about the everyday challenges of starting over, albeit starting over in the face of spectacularly peculiar events. It is a story about finding purpose and re-defining perspective and dealing with others as they face the same challenges, often times with startling, sad and unusual results. Not your ordinary post apocalyptic story and so much better because of it!
  • Jill S. (Chicago, IL)
    Into Thin Air
    What if -- whoosh! -- with no explanation, millions of us simply vanished? And what if there were no rhyme or reason to WHO disappears (John Mellencamp and J.Lo, Vladmir Putin and the Pope). What happens in the aftermath to those who are leftovers?

    No one knows and Tom Perrotta doesn't even speculate. He wisely leaves it to the imagination of the reader. His focus is not on the apocalyptic event but on how one particular family zigzags forward. It's an ambitious theme: how diminished we are when something vital is subtracted from our lives. Maybe a little too ambitious. The grandness of the so-called Rapture is always lurking in the background, making the players who strut and fret their last hours on stage seem rather meaningless. But maybe that is, indeed the point. Still, at the end of the day, I wanted to know MORE about "the end of the day."
  • Darcy C. (San Diego, CA)
    The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta
    To start this review, I want to state that I am a huge Perrotta fan. I wanted to love this book as I have his previous books, but hard as I tried -- this book did not "do it" for me. It wasn't a bad book by any means, but Perrotta has set a high-standard with me due to his word-gymnastics and his pin-sharp wit. This book felt disjointed for my tastes. I enjoyed some of the characters, but was disappointed by the story leap-frogging from one character to the next. I think I wanted to know more about the G.R. members and why they acted as they did. There was an explanation, but I desired more in-depth reasons for their smoking, their wearing white, their following "subjects" around the neighborhood. I would not say that this is a book NOT worth reading -- far from it, but it wasn't Perrotta's best.
  • Lucille B. (San Jose, CA)
    left behind and left over
    It’s the anniversary of the Sudden Departure. Three years before millions of people disappeared in what appeared to be a random event, leaving friends and family to puzzle over and wonder what happened. Things are starting to get back to normal in the town of Mapleton; the townsfolk, led by Mayor Kevin Garvey, are celebrating the first annual Departed Heroes Day of Remembrance and Reflection. We follow the progress of keynote speaker Norah Durst (her family’s sole survivor) and members of the Garvey family (which has fragmented since the event) as they try to rebuild their lives. In this book Tom Perrota follows his usual method of presenting a group of suburban residents with a dilemma that brings out contradictions and more failings than strengths. His characters are flawed humans, not always easy to like; nor are endings always neatly wrapped up. His satire is superb. The theme, (surviving after a cataclysmic event), not the characters, held my attention.

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